Monday, 5 September 2011

In support of the protesters against the Keystone XL Pipeline project

One of the people that I admire as a poet/lyricist lives right here in Iqaluit, Nunavut. His name is Michael P Murphy, a long-time Nunavummiut who is originally from Ireland. Now, I don't have permission to share this piece that Murphy wrote so I hope it's ok. I woke up a couple of days ago as my aippaq was playing Michael's CD, The Raven Bird, a northern odyssey, which I thought was a great song to underline what's been happening in Washington, DC, recently regarding the protest against the Keystone xl pipeline project.

The song is called, The Water Song (music and lyrics by Michael P Murphy, 2009):

If you break me down I am of atoms and molecules
All our children know they understand these scientific rules
Still you sit in your ivory tower
Another five year study, clinging onto power
You refuse to face the truth of the dying seas
Ah, industrial man you're murdering me

Well, your body and mind are linked to all of life's other forms
Air and soil, mostly water are our common norm
Still you state that I rant and rave
perhaps it's time to flee and find a hidden cave
You refuse to see the maple forests sicken and die
Ah, industrial man you're murdering me
Hey industrial Giant stop murdering me

Let's make a deal, we're 20 million strong
We're intelligent people you can't string along
We care for our kids and we know what's going wrong
So get up from your seat in your ivory tower
take a permanent look at your land for even one hour
for lack of pollution control you're murdering me
It's a strange contradiction...

Let's make a deal
It's a strange contradiction for the clever creature you are
Permits the usage of water and clay as a common sewer
There while you sit and negotiate
A ton of acid rain has fallen on the state
Beluga whales are so toxic that you must wear gloves
Ah, industrial man your murdering me

If I take legal action to the highest court in the land
Would you call me a radical and label me a new fire brand
The courts believe in justice, they believe in me
There isn't much to lose, some pride and dignity
In the provinces, cities and towns, the people can see
That all your industrial waste, it's murdering me
And the forests and the seas, and the rivers, and the animals,
the flowers, the humans and the birds
Ah, industrial man stop murdering me
Mr industrial man stop murdering me

-Michael once told me that Canada is one of the greatest countries in the world because sectarian violence and other ugly consequences of human pride and prejudice have not infected us as a nation yet. I'm not much of a federalist but I understood his words immediately, and couldn't help but agree. We tend to take for granted what does not give us grief (like clean water and intangible riches of our great country); perhaps we become complacent and jaded and forget that the laurels that hold us up were hard-won by blood and sweat of human decency in the face of great adversity but still remain subject to change - change that, without our vigilance, will not wait for us to put our act together.

Jay

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